The redevelopment of the former PEMCO factory site in southeast Baltimore — a project four years in the making — got underway with a formal groundbreaking Wednesday.
MCB Real Estate, a Baltimore-based developer, plans to remake the 20-acre industrial site across Eastern Avenue from the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center campus as a mixed-use project dubbed Yard 56.
Yard 56 will feature retail and office space plus residences and a hotel. The first phase, which got underway Monday, includes an LA Fitness gym scheduled to open in mid-2019, followed by a grocery store.
MCB purchased the former PEMCO site for $3 million in 2014 and began seeking approvals for its plans, which include an environmental clean-up of the polluted site. PEMCO, which closed in 2006, produced specialized enamel products in Baltimore for about 95 years, including the famous orange tiles that adorned Howard Johnson hotels.
"After an extensive community and regulatory process, we are extremely excited to be finally starting construction on Yard56," said P. David Bramble, MCB’s managing partner, in a statement. "This project is a once-in-a-generation transformational project which will clean up a major eyesore and deliver much needed retail commercial hospitality and residential services."